This is the fourth week of our series we are calling, “I come to do your will.” We read these words on the lips of Jesus many times in the gospel passages, it is in the psalms and we see them in the letter to the Hebrews read today. Jesus says he did not come on his own but he came to do the will of his Father. What an example we receive from Jesus, doing the will of the one who sent him. We want to look at the coming of Jesus, and prepare for a season of anticipation and waiting. Looking at the readings over these four weeks has been leading us to the great Christmas celebration, Jesus coming with a purpose.
In this first week we looked at the promise. God made a promise to the house of Israel and we read that the days are coming when God will fulfill his promise. God promises through covenant, and God keeps his promise even when the covenant has not been fulfilled by those to whom God has made promises. It is the power of God’s promise that brings justice and righteousness, strength and the teaching of a new life, a life where we stand tall in front of God, the Holy One. So the first week we looked at promise and how God always fulfills his promise.
Two weeks ago we looked at glory. We saw that glory is coming. Glory is probably one of the most pervasive words in the bible, we see it so many places. Glory is the reason God created each one of us, for his glory. What does it mean? God wants us to live so that when people see us, they will say I want to know God. As we plan for the coming of Jesus, looking at it two ways; Jesus coming as a baby on Christmas day and Jesus coming a second time to let us see the full glory of God, we want to recognize that a huge result of Jesus coming is that we more fully know the glory of God. For Gods glory to be seen it all depends on us.
Last week we looked at how this coming is to make God known. It is a week of announcing and rejoicing so the world will know God left all behind to come and dwell among us. We can announce God through our words but it is our deeds that makes God most irresistible today. We heard in the readings kindness makes God known, giving and sharing makes God known, and gratefulness and thanks makes God known. We spend these weeks preparing ourselves for the coming of Jesus, we celebrate his birth as a baby and we ready ourselves for his second coming. When Jesus did walk the earth crowds followed him. Sure his miracles and healings attracted people but more than that they were attracted to how he welcomed and accepted them, a shepherd who loves his sheep. We are challenged today to make Jesus known, to do so we should do as he did, share kindness, generosity and gratefulness. Jesus came to do the will of the Father, and to make the Father known.
This our final week of the series, we are looking at the central theme, “I come to do your will.” We see that that the chance to do the will of the Father is announced and lived throughout this week’s readings. Doing the will of the Father gets some to be called blessed. We will also recognize that doing God’s will matches us to his promises, it immerses us in his glory and we become very well-known not only to God but to others as disciples of God. We will look at all this more fully as we explore what it means to be someone who comes to do God’s will.We will also recognize that doing God’s will matches us to his promises, it immerses us in his glory and we become very well-known not only to God but to others as disciples of God. Click To Tweet
The readings this week are from the Lectionary for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, derived from a Latin word, advent it means coming. The readings are; Micah 5:1-4A; Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; Hebrews 10:5-10 and Luke 1:39-45. Each demonstrate the willingness to do the will of the Father. We see the prophecy of the Messiah who will do the will of the Father, we read of the incarnation of the Messiah doing the will of the Father and we see the mother of God saying yes to the will of the Father and forever she is known as blessed.
The first reading is from Micah announcing a “ruler” for Israel who will be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. (The reading includes Ephrathah in the announcing which is the region of the city of David.) This is where the idea that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem and be from the line of King David is prophesied. One who is “too small” or who is the least. They must wait until she who is to give birth has done so. For us who have faith in the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem this prophecy is obvious. What is clear as well is that Jesus mother Mary was first in the new covenant to do the will of the Father. She agreed to be God’s handmaiden and bring forth the one who will stand firm with his flock, a flock who will receive the benefits of his rule to the ends of the earth. The prophet is referring to the future Messiah, no ruler could compare to this description. God’s will is that a new type of ruler will come and be born in Bethlehem, one who will be the shepherd of his flock, a flock that will receive great benefit for being sheep in his fold. As we could say today Jesus, born of Mary, in Bethlehem will be our Lord, he will bring salvation from sin for all who are his followers, and this is fulfilling the will of God.
In the second reading from Hebrews we have the theme of God’s will. God provided Jesus as an incarnation, born a man to replace sacrifices that do not delight God. Christ will do the will of the Father, removing the sacrifices established in the law and making a new sacred, the offering of his own Body, which will be the final sacrifice ever needed to please God and rescue all from their sin. It is God’s plan to acquit the guilty and rescue them for eternal life. Jesus offering to be the scapegoat, the Lamb of God, to take all sin unto himself making the will of God sacred and holy for all who follow. Christ fulfilled what could not be fulfilled through any offering we could make to the Father. Jesus states over and over again his primary attitude. The text are numerous, the last is seen in the Gospel of John, “I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of him who sent me.” (6:38) Jesus was clear that he did nothing on his own, he only did what the father desired. But mostly he lived the mission of the Father to make a way for sinners to be reunited with God. Jesus came, so that we could live, according to the will of God.Gospel of John, “I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of him who sent me.” (6:38) Jesus was clear that he did nothing on his own, he only did what the father desired. Click To Tweet
In the Gospel of Luke we read about Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth who was old and barren for most of her life. But now in her old age was pregnant in her third trimester. Mary happy for Elizabeth, also pregnant in her first trimester, went to visit and see if she could help Elizabeth as her baby came. The visit sets up this great meeting between the two unborn babies and a prayer. Elizabeth feels the baby leap in her womb as Mary enters, the meeting of John and Jesus. Then Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit proclaims a prayer that honors Mary and her future son. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit recognizes Mary carried the Son of the Most High God. She says, “Blessed are you who believed what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” God’s will be done, thanks to the belief of Mary. Through the meeting of these two women Luke sets Mary as the true Ark of the Covenant, a new Covenant that Jesus fulfills. It is by doing the will of the Father that these things are possible. Mary and Jesus both have come to do God’s will.
Jesus is coming, and in that coming a new covenant is set in motion. God, has laid the plan for this moment in the beginning and for the people of Jerusalem two-thousand years ago to have the chance to meet the Messiah. We thank Mary for her willingness to do the will of the Father. For doing God’s will she is called blessed. Her life was not easy and not always without pain, but she is always blessed, because from her first yes till the end of her life, it was the Father’s will she tries to do. Ultimately, as the mother of God, she ranks high among those blessed. We each can attain the same fulfillment if we do the will of the Father.We thank Mary for her willingness to do the will of the Father. For doing God’s will she is called blessed. Her life was not easy and not always without pain, but she is always blessed. Click To Tweet
I come to do your will
In the gospels we find these words I come to do you will. Probably we read it most powerfully as Jesus prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane moments before he would be arrested and condemned to die. We read, “He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) In the Gospel of Mark this same moment is revealed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” (14:36) Again in the Gospel of Luke “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (22:42)
In the Gospel according to John we read Jesus visits and speaks with a Samaritan woman, and as he does his disciples want him to have something to eat, he remarks, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.” (4:34) Later Jesus is questioned about curing a man who could not walk on the Sabbath, this was against the law, Jesus responded. “I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” (5:30)
Of course those familiar with the prayer Jesus taught, we refer to it as the Lord’s Prayer, includes God’s will, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10) To pray for God’s will to be done is to want things done perfectly, to be done according to Most Holy God’s plan, to want things done so all will be right in heaven and on earth. God’s will is for the best for everyone, and that we all might be united with God who loves us.
In the beginning God’s will was that we would live eternally, conversing with God, enjoying everything in life, no hardship, no pain. But sin introduced death and God’s will was subverted. God had a plan to again restore eternal life and a close relationship between Creator and created. God demonstrates his love for us by sending his Holy Son who would die for us. God knew ahead of time the sins we would commit and confess and Christ dies for us anyway. Our sin breaks the heart of God so much that he needed a way we could have it washed, this cleansing is through the will of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. We can sin again and again and again, and we will be forgiven again and again and again. Without God’s plan, death would be final, all there would be to life is those moments are hearts beat and our breath moves.In the beginning God’s will was that we would live eternally, conversing with God, enjoying everything in life, no hardship, no pain. But sin introduced death and God’s will was subverted. Click To Tweet
We are free to choose life as we want to live. Many of us do. I know for the longest time I ignored God and live moment to moment, seeking pleasure and seeking immediacy. For me it led to a life of lots of parties, and what I thought were some great nights. It also led to some painful mornings, and eventually arrests for driving when I shouldn’t be driving. Doing my will put me on a path where I would either end up permanently in jail, dead, and possibly hurting someone I didn’t know. None of these outcomes were what I would hope for, but doing my own will led in this direction. My partying life was so complete that it let to alcohol addiction, essentially the losing of my will to do as I wanted. Now I was controlled by my need to serve my addiction, it was no longer a free choice. Thankfully, I did discover God in my life, it came through the life of one of my children who needed God to live and I prayed and offered my life to God if only he would take care of her. Thankfully it was God’s will she be okay and with help I lived up to my promise of doing God’s will and not my own from then on. No death, no jail, God’s will walked me down a path of happiness, joy and love. Choosing to do God’s will was the choice of freedom for me.
God is not an oppressor, or a rule maker to control our lives. God the creator wants us to be free. God also wants us to know in our freedom if we choose God, we will live the best life possible for us. We will also attain salvation providing the best eternal life for us as well. God takes no sides, but God does come alongside to help. With God’s help we can be again walking alongside God in his Kingdom, enjoying the life God planned for all humanity originally, enjoying all, no hardships, no pain, just joy.God is not an oppressor, or a rule maker to control our lives. God the creator wants us to be free. Click To Tweet
Series wrap up
We looked over this four week series at God’s relationship with humanity. God made a covenant promise with the nation Israel to be their God, in time he created a new covenant available to each of us individually; God sent his Son to bring us freedom. We have seen God live up to this promise.
God told us repeatedly that we are created for his glory. Once sin entered the world our freedoms are challenged by things that are immediate but not ultimate, by pleasure not fulfillment, by images over intimacy, by experience over exclusivity. Sin wants us to try everything, everyone, all the time. God knows true joy comes from relationships of true love. Sin is easy and without discipline we can be tempted to sin daily. We need to live in such a way that God’s glory is seen as the better path, leading to a life of fulfillment, intimacy, exclusivity and joy. If we don’t live to glorify God than we and others are too easily fooled by sin. We must be God’s glory so all will see that path to joy.
In the same way we must make God known, through our actions of kindness, giving and sharing. Living a life of service says my God will take care of me, and I will take care of you. We do it so God’s love can be known. We do it so God can be know.
God’s will is that all be invited to his Kingdom. He makes no exception nor excludes anyone from invitation, for any reason. Although God’s Kingdom is not anything we know, it is what is best for us all. We shouldn’t let someone live without at least the possibility of knowing about God.
Jesus is coming and we are preparing. It is a season to make an invitation to someone. Maybe we have a neighbor, or family member who we know is curious but just needs a little assurance from us. Make an invitation for them to join you at Christmas. Churches are at their best during Christmas, they are ready for new invitees.
In this season of coming, it is the best time to look to God’s promise and to glorify God for fulfilling this promise. We should also make God and his promise known to others, it is a great story to be shared and by sharing it we will be doing the will of the Father. Doing God’s will leads to freedom and a joy filled life, forever.In this season of coming, it is the best time to look to God’s promise and to glorify God for fulfilling this promise. Doing God’s will leads to freedom and a joy filled life, forever. Click To Tweet